Great Britain’s Prince George of Cambridge was recently christened in an ecru lace-trimmed and silk satin christening gown, a replica of the one made in 1841 for Victoria, Princess Royal, the eldest child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, by Janet Sutherland, Embroiderer to the Queen. The replica was made, like Queen Victoria’s wedding gown and the original royal christening gown, from ivory Spitalfields silk satin and Honiton lace, and was dyed a lovely sepia shade, to imitate the original, with tea. For more information, click here.
To achieve a similar ecru color on your own white cotton or linen garments, try the following:
- Wash and dry the garment or fabric you intend to dye.
- Get about 20 black tea bags.
- Fill a 4 quart (or larger) pot with water, and bring it to the boil.
- Add the teabags, turn off the heat, and allow the tea to steep in the water for at least an hour.
- Remove the teabags from the pot and bring the strong brewed tea to a simmer.
- Put your fabric into the simmering tea, turn off the heat, and let it soak at least 1 hour, or until the fabric has achieved the color you want it to have.
- Remove the fabric to the sink and wring out, then rinse in cold water.
- Wring out again, and air-dry the garment, or put it in the electric dryer.
Iron your garment on medium heat, and you now have a textile that is a nice vintage sepia or ecru shade. You can use this technique to cover faint stains on white shirts, as well as to "age" new fabrics. Whether you keep it for yourself or give your tea-dyed textile to someone else, enjoy making "tea to wear", like Prince William and Katherine's young son!
Copyright 2013, Elizabeth Urbach.
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For more information:
“Prince George christened, 7 godparents named”
“Prince George christening, official photos released”
“Prince George’s Christening Robe – the History Behind His Royal Look”
“William and Kate break tradition for Prince George’s christening”
“5 gifts you can make with tea”
“Have an English tea and Royal Wedding-viewing party”
“Stay up with tea and watch the Royal Wedding”